Friday, February 28, 2014

Game Diary - Thief.

This is the "it's time to load your game" screen.

I'll reiterate this multiple times when it comes to the review, but I love Thief.  I loooove Thief.

Thief, if you're reading this?

...when I say Thief, though, I'm not talking about Thief.  I'm talking about Thief: The Dark Project. 

Thief: The Dark Project (1998)

Which is a very different beast.  The room above, alone, illustrates the difference between Looking Glass Studios' The Dark Project and Eidos Monteal's Thief.  Eidos Monteal, you should remember, gave us the lovely Deus Ex: Human Revolution - but even here, the differences are vast - the difference in vastness, to be precise.

Eidos Montreal's Thief is not vast.  Anywhere.  There isn't a vast space, room, view to be found. At least, not yet - I've spent at least four hours with the game, nearly all of them in the initial hub, completing side-jobs of breaking in to poor peoples' homes and making off with their meager treasures.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that once I get in to a job proper it'll present me with... I dunno, a house?

Like one big-ass house with a half-dozen potential points of ingress. A house where every room, closet, hallway is present and accounted for, and not inexplicably disconnected and blocked off from the mansion that surrounds it.

This is my problem with Thief, so far.  Its twisty urban routs and indoor sections - in The City hub, at least - don't actually make any architectural, living sense.

I broke into the attic of a house and overheard a woman downstairs talking about how she hid something up here - but unless she climbed her ass up onto the rooftops and jimmied the upstairs window, like I did, I can't imagine how she got in there.  I snuck into a writer's home - and again, could hear him talking through the walls as I rifled through the important documents in his study - but his study was a single room with a window for access.

It didn't have any doors that led to any other part of the writer's home.  It was just this little nugget for me to thieve my way through - which is fine, in spirit - but in execution, it slaps immersion in the balls.  This doesn't really feel like that writer's study and it didn't really feel like that woman's attic because we feel, within ourselves, that people's living spaces connect to their homes.

The whole thing feels terribly... streamlined, perhaps is the word.  I think I'd be happier with it if it didn't call itself Thief.  If I didn't go in to it associating the game with my beloved memories of exploring huge, sprawling, intricately-constructed levels that made architectural sense, I think I'd just be thrilled to be thieving in first-person again.

...and then there's the Dishonored comparison.  I'm sorry to throw this out there, but - just in terms of gameplay, locomotion, physicality, the feel of it - Dishonored did Thief better than Thief does Thief.

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